A week ago, Adrian Peterson was traded by the New Orleans Saints to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a conditional sixth-round draft pick. Many thought when this trade was completed, he was just swapping one offense where he couldn't get moving for another, but that wasn't to be.
In his debut game for the Cardinals against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, the running back ran for 134 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 38–33 win, moving Arizona to a 3-3 record on the season.
This comes after the 32-year-old only managed to run for 81 yards across four games during his time with the Saints, so he's already proving to the doubters that he has a lot left in the tank. He just needs to show consistency now across the rest of the season.
However, Peterson's time in Arizona could have started a lot sooner than last week if the franchise had decided to draft him during the 2007 NFL draft, which could have ultimately changed NFL history forever.
The running back was still available when the Cardinals were on the clock with the fifth overall pick of the draft ten years ago, but they decided to go with offensive tackle Levi Brown instead. Peterson was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings two picks later, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Brown played for six seasons for the Cardinals before being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013, playing 81 games across his six-year career in the NFL, including a start vs the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. He was a strong run blocker, but not a great pass-protector, and this was a time when the team had an aging Kurt Warner at quarterback.
He allowed eight sacks in his rookie season, 11 in his second, nine in his third, and 10 in his fourth, so for a first-round talent, he didn't end up being that great at all. He could be considered one of the worst draft picks ever by the Cardinals in their history.
The Cardinals might have been better off drafting Peterson then, as they didn't exactly have a great running game at the time either, as a lot of the time, they relied on Warner's arm to get the offense moving.
The addition of Peterson during their Super Bowl run would have helped, as in the 2008 season, the running back led the league in rushing yards with 1,760 yards. He would have been a good distraction for opposing defenses to consider, rather than them focusing all their efforts on the quarterback.
You never know, things could have ended differently in the Super Bowl for the Cardinals if they had drafted him ten years ago.